Sunday, June 29, 2008

Update, Weekend Fun, & a Prayer Request

Well, we have officially lived in Kansas for a little more than a week and I have to say-we are adjusting quite nicely. We have just a few more boxes to unpack in the house and some organizing in the garage to do and we will be all done with boxes! I meant to take pictures today of the house, but just didn't get to it. I promise I will do that tomorrow and get those posted for everyone to see. The house in Oklahoma is empty and clean and we close on it tomorrow! It will be nice for that to be off our minds.

We had a great weekend. Cody, Aleeyah, and myself went to the pool on Friday. Since the weather here is about 10ish degrees cooler than Oklahoma-the pool was a bit chilly at first, but we got use to it quickly. We are looking forward to spending more time hanging out at the pool this summer. Saturday we were busy running around taking care of a few things and getting some shopping done, but we made time to hit he zoo. We went with my dad and his girlfriend along with her daughter and granddaughter. The zoo is absolutely amazing. There is so much to see and do and its all FREE! I definitely see Aleeyah and I going there often to talk about God's creatures and spend time learning about them. ***See pictures below*** We ended the evening at Dad's house for dinner.

Then this morning we hit one of the local congregations to spend some time with God. It was......different than worshiping at Oakcrest in a lot of ways but ultimately the same. Since they have 2 services, class doesn't start until 9:45. I have to admit-it was pretty nice having a little bit more time in the mornings to get ready. We met a lot of really nice people and were really jazzed about the excitement the congregation shows during the singing. Aleeyah was really excited about going to Bible class and did great going to class. We were afraid she would be clingy to us, being at a new place and all, but she was a trooper. We plan on going there a couple more times to get a good feel of an average Sunday.

On another note, we learned upon entering the classroom this morning that one of their sisters in Christ passed away this weekend. I was saddened to hear that she left behind a husband and 2 boys. I gathered from the way that everyone spoke, she was sick for quite sometime before she passed. Although my heart was heavy for them, I couldn't help but be encouraged by the things that they said about her-as they described her and her love for God and His people. Please include her family in your prayers today. The message during the sermon happened to be about leaving a legacy. It definitely brought our hearts to a level we hadn't expected, but we left smiling as 5 people were baptized this morning. God is so good!

Well, we are heading into a pretty busy week, but I will definitely post the pictures of our new home tomorrow. Have a good week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Oakcrest Family

Chris, Aleeyah, and I have enjoyed worshiping with our Oakcrest family and are missing them more than they will all ever know. I can't remember how long it's been since we first visited Oakcrest, but it's been quite some time. We have enjoyed building friendships with everyone but more specifically we have enjoyed our time with our very first formed friendships-the Hernandez family, the Tysons, Sedas, Carters, Bryants, and the Hagers. They were the families that first welcomed us to Oakcrest. We spent many Sunday afternoons after church learning about each other over lunch and many evenings playing games and learning and growing in the Lord together. It has been a blessing to see all their families grow with at least one child and some now-their second. They have been great friends and will always be remembered as such. Some of them moved to different areas and states long before we left, but all missed just the same.

One of the hardest good-byes I had to face was to the Oakcrest kids. It was a moment that I had dreaded. The moment that brought me to tears every time I thought about it. Obviously, I love all my family and friends and each one is hard to say good-bye to, but those kids-I will always wonder who they have become and where their lives have taken them. It makes me sad to think I won't be there to help them through the awkwardness of their younger years while they learn life lessons. I won't be there to see them mature in their faith as they build the most important relationship they will ever have. BUT I know God will take care of them. He has given them parents and/or grandparents that are passionate about serving the Lord with all that they have and He will also put other people in their lives that will help them understand faith and love through friendships.

As I spent my last minutes with the kids on Wednesday night I tried to hold back the tears as I told them how much they mean to me and how hard it was to say good-bye. But with all their innocent faces looking at me-I cried. Yep, I cried. Afterwards, I confessed to Laura (one of the other children's ministers) that I had failed mission "Do Not Cry". I was touched and reassured when she told me, it was good-it will help them understand and remember that I cared for them, truly cared. And I guess that was one of my missions and always has been one for them. I want them to know that I truly, deeply care for them. I was thankful to see them weekly, I continue to pray for them daily, and I will always remember them. They have helped God show me my purpose and my passion. To be a faithful friend to a kid no matter what satan throws at them. To help teach them about God's love for them. To be a friend even when their life gets dumped upside down right on top of them.

Ben, one of the ministers at Oakcrest, helped me see where my passion stems from. In the moments I realized what he was trying to help me see, my heart was lifted and my eyes cried tears of happiness. God used my pain to give me my purpose and passion. When my life was flipped upside down during my parents divorce, the people I loved-the very people that said they would be there no matter what-abandoned me. Even our own church family wanted nothing to do with us anymore. We were dirty laundry. Some of those relationships will never be resolved and I have not stepped foot into that church building since that time. But Ben helped me see that I have a passion for giving kids pure love and kindness in the very hardest of times because I was that kid. I felt awkward and out of place. I felt lonely and abandoned. But I continued to believe that God was the answer.

The kids at Oakcrest just helped fuel the passion. I knew everyday that I saw them that I had an opportunity to impact their lives and show them the love that Jesus showed to the little children in the stories of the New Testament. It was not a job or a duty-it was love. It was the love that God put into my heart and how He used my pain to give my life a purpose.

I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to get to work with the kids at Oakcrest. They are so special to me. I'm thankful for the parents that brought them and for allowing me to build friendships with their children. I'm thankful for all the friendships I gained with my fellow ministers at Oakcrest-for Ben who always has always understood me and help guide me, to Paul for showing me the kind of passion and love for Christ that my life needs, to Scott for always believing in me and the ministry, to Brian for showing me what a true minister should be and assuring me that I always had more time (ha ha!), to Jennifer for showing me the kind of love it takes to minister to children, and to Laura for allowing me to soak in her knowledge, patience, and understanding of growing kids. I'm thankful for our ladies who help run the office-Sheila and Caren-who took me and my family as their own and I will never forget them. I'm thankful to all my Oakcrest family for teaching me that I do have a very large family and although not blood related we have the greatest thing in common-we love God. Finally, I can give thanks to God for seeing the years of rejection, hurt, fear, and tears I was about to face as a way to make me grow into the person I am today and for continually healing me from my past more and more everyday.

I would like to end this post with a song that the kids always loved to sing during group time. I think about this song often when I think about troubles that we will face in our time. I think about it when I think I cannot handle the pressures and pain that life that sometimes brings. There is NOTHING my God cannot do!!!

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,
there's nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are His, the valleys are His,
the trees are His handiwork too.
My God is is so big, so strong, and so mighty,
there's nothing my God cannot do.

We're HERE.....or there-depending on how you look at!

Well, we have made it to Kansas a little earlier than expected. We are not closing on our house until the end of the month but thankfully (in some ways) we were able to move sooner. Just before Father's Day weekend I talked to the movers and they informed us that they would be able to move our stuff that following Wednesday and deliver it on Friday. At that's where the emotional rollercoaster started again. Parts of me were filled with joy thinking about how nice it will be to live with my husband again, but the other part of me knew this was it. It made me happy to think about living closer to my Dad and brother, but sad to think about living farther from all my other family and friends.

The move went pretty painlessly, but where there was no pain there was exhaustion. I rushed around just days before the move-filling boxes with all our precious JUNK.
It was a rush of wanting to see everyone before we left, but unfortunately, not enough time. Maybe that was God's way of making it easier on me. Maybe He knew I could not handle any more good-byes.

It has taken several days of unpacking to get to a point of feeling a bit more relaxed. It helps that the apartment is now filled with our things. It's nice to be able to see Chris daily again and Aleeyah is enjoying her new, bigger room! We are all adjusting well and Chris is still loving his new job!

Our cell numbers are the same for now. We will keep our old emails for at least a month and we are in the process of getting the new ones set up. Send me a message if you want our new address and emails.

Well, I have more boxes to unpack! Here are a couple of pictures. I will post some of the new place soon.

Some of our stuff loaded onto the back of my dad's truck. We got a kick out of how my dad tied down Aleeyah's Big Wheels.

Aleeyah helping unpack and move her stuff

Our first trip to the park since we have been in Kansas

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To my husband, Chris

P.S. I had to add in Aleeyah's way of saying Happy Father's Day! Love you bunches and I can't wait until our little family lives together again!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alphabet Fun--Letter B

Alright! Time for the letter B. We have several in the B category but for time purposes we will stick to just a few!!!

One of our most favorite "B" things would have to be books which would also include the Bible. Aleeyah has always enjoyed looking at books and now she is having fun pointing out the letters in the books.

Bath time is always another fun sport. Just this evening she made a complete mess of the bathroom while taking a bath. That girl loves to splash!!!

Bubbles seems to always be a kid favorite. Nothing like slimy bubble residue all over the place causing more messes for moms everywhere to clean up! (picture is of my niece, Kira during bubble time!)

One of the things we are very excited about doing once we get to Kansas is going on the bike trails and enjoying every moment of it! We all LOVE to go biking!!! I have so many great memories of going on bike rides with my dad and sister. I look foward to sharing those with Aleeyah as well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alphabet Fun--Letter A

Welcome to our Alphabet Fun post!!! From time to time I will blog some things that we enjoy or things we enjoy doing by posting things that begin with a certain letter. It will be titled Alphabet Fun-(insert letter). I was inspired by another blog that I read that did something similar and I am excited to get to share some of our most favorite things with you!

Here we go with the letter A!!!

First and foremost-the Alphabet. Aleeyah loves to sing, point out, and even sign her alphabet!

Apples-our favorite is the green ones. They have always been Aleeyah's most favorite snack since she was little.

We, obviously, enjoy Aleeyah more than anything! She is such a hoot. I never realized how much fun a kid could be!

One of the things that Chris and I do is agrue. I know that doesnt seem so enjoyable, but it has always been playful arguing! (the picture is of Chris and I before the honeymoon ended-literally!!! ha ha)

Well, that is it for today. Check back for the letter B!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Apartment Living

I know news just hit the blog about us moving only a couple of short hours ago, but we have so much to share right now and honestly, I dont know how much time I will have to blog about it in the next couple of weeks. AND on top of that-we have been getting calls from several of our family and friends wondering where we are in the moving process.

So here are a few details...

Chris and I put a deposit on an apartment this last weekend. We looked at several apartments. There were so many to choose from and all of them were equally nice. The one we chose stood out from the rest because it has just been updated with new appliances, cabinet fronts, and best of all-brushed nickel lighting fixtures. Although I am happy with the wall color we are able to paint if we choose so long as we put on a primer coat before we leave. So I will be able to paint Aleeyah's room!!! Chris and I have decided to rent an apartment for at least a year so that we can get use to the area and have a little play time without yard work and housing maintanance. Obviously, we will still be cleaning the house, but no renovations or repairs. I will post pictures of our new home once we get up there and get our stuff settled.

We will be on the 2nd floor overlooking an area of landscaping and will be able to see the golf course from our balcony.

This is where I will be getting my tan!!!

And this is where Aleeyah and I will be spending all summer to keep cool!!!

We are finalizing the details of the move here in the next couple of days. So we will have those dates to share soon. Our house closes at the end of the month so we will definately be out before that date.

So that is where we are for now. It seems like it changes everyday!!!

BIG NEWS on the Homefront!

...and this time I actually get to tell you what it is! Yes, finally, I can dump the darn cat out of the bag! (BTW-please enlighten me if you know where the phrase "let the cat out of the bag" comes from. Some of the things we say are so bizarre!!!)

The news will come to no surprise for some of you. You may have heard from myself or Chris, you may have heard through that lovely grapevine (yet another weird phrase), OR you might have guessed it from the previous blogs where I might have mentioned Chris' new job and that our house was on the market and 6 days later-SOLD!!

Well, as you know-we are moving (hence the house selling). The moving crew will be here in the next couple of weeks to pack up all of our belongings into a large truck and then head up I-35 North-Kansas bound. Yes, you read that right. The girl who has lived in Moore, Oklahoma her entire life and always said she would never leave-is in fact, packing up her family and leaving. Chris' new job that he accepted is in Kansas City, MO. We will be living in Overland Park, KS which is about 25 minutes from his job and about 3 miles from my dad and brother in Olathe, KS. The area we are moving to is a beautiful place and has a lot to offer, but I will post more on that at a later date. I am most excited about regaining full visitation of my husband. Aleeyah and I's weekend visitation rights were sure getting old. I am also looking forward to getting to spend more time with my dad and my little brother (who is graduating high school next year! ahhhh!!!).

We will truly miss our friends and family here in Oklahoma. Many of you have been like family to us and we couldn't ask for anything better. You have been so supportive and honestly, right now-we need that. I have cried many tears while talking to several of you, but I will never forget the things that you have said to help me find strength in a time that I was weak. You have been an amazing family to get to know, to laugh with, and to grow in. It will be hard to leave Oklahoma knowing we wont see each other as often, but we also know that this has been God's plan for us. He couldn't be more clear and in that-we find comfort.

I will post more later about the upcoming move, what this means for my position at Oakcrest, and where our new home will be, but for now-

I will end with a few things I have learned throughout this entire process. I have learned that about the time you say, "I will never..." you better start packing up and get ready to go on the adventure that God has set out for you. I have learned that the people that understand your need for a change-although never easy-are the people who truly care about you. And the last one for today--I have learned what it means to fully give your worries to God-to let Him have the controls while you sit back and listen for His direction.

An oldie, but goodie---
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6
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